Hollywood appearances, even chunky roles, are no longer out of reach for desi folks from tinsel town. In the early parts of last decade, the diva Aishwarya Rai made waves by creating demand for herself in the outside world - although she was not the first Indian stepping out into the realm of foreign cinema, she was certainly one of the first faces to make the trend larger than life!
Interestingly, the list of Bollywood celebs who have been cast in foreign projects is predominantly comprised of veteran but non-mainstream actors. With an occasional exception now and then of course. Bollywood's most desirable on the national front have either not found their outside opportunities yet, or have been dismayed in the face of closed projects.
So this article brings you Bollywood's Most Desirable - on the international front - celebrities who have stepped beyond their comfort zones and done us proud on the global front!
Film: The Namesake (2006)
Certainly an acknowledged and critically acclaimed name in B-town, but not the most 'crowd popular' face! Yet, Tabu
, with her genuine theatrical excellence has always delivered sensible cinema and that did not change even for her foreign project. Starring in Mira Nair's The Namesake
(an adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel), Tabu
received worldwide applauding for her performance. The film also became one which appeared on many critics' Top 10 list as Best Film for the year 2006.
Actor: Om Puri
Films: Gandhi (1982), City of Joy (1992), Wolf (1994), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), My Son the Fanatic (1997), East is East (1999), The Parole Officer (2001), Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
A veteran theater artist, who has claimed his share of acclaim in national cinema, has fared just as well outside. Among his most recognized works are popular Brit projects like My Son the Fanatic, East is East, and The Parole Officer. Another critically lauded role was a cameo from him in the 1982 film Gandhi by Richard Attenborough.
Actor: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Films: Bride and Prejudice (2004), Mistress of Spices (2005), Provoked (2006), The Last Legion (2007), Pink Panther 2 (2009)
Behold, because here comes the lady who makes a trend out of rarity! While veteran actors have preceded Aish in foreign cinema, and successfully at that, it was the casting of a popular face like hers that bought interest of overwhelming numbers of loyal Indian audience to outside projects starring Indian celebs. Riding high as an established model, and later as a recognized actress in Indian cinema, Aishwarya was no less impressive on foreign soil. While Gurinder Chaddha's Bride and Prejudice (contemporary adaptation with an Indian flavor to Jane Austen's classic Pride And Prejudice) has probably been the greatest success, Provoked has won her great critical acclaim, and of course Pink Panther 2 has been like an exclusive feather in her hat.
Actor: Irrfan Khan
Films: The Warrior (2001), The Namesake (2006), Mighty Heart (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York, I Love You (2009)
Irfan's performances in the outside world have been as stumping and phenomenal as his delivery in Bollywood. Among his greatest non-Indian hits are names like the 2008 Oscar sweeper Slumdog Millaionaire and Nair's The Namesake. In addition to the movies he has to his credit already, Irfan has also signed up future foreign projects - The Amazing Spiderman and Life of Pi, based on the popular Yann Martel novel of the same name.
Film: Slumdog Millionare (2008), Mission: Impossible IV (2011), Power (2010)
is yet another traditionally popular face who stepped out of his Bollywood realm, although at a belated stage in his career. His greatest bagging has to be his role in Slumdog Millionaire
, which won him home approval as well as international recognition - especially in representing the movie at the Oscars, where it was a whooping winner that year. After that stint, Anil became quite popular in the foreign scene and was cast in a season for American television series, 24
. More recently, he was approached to play the negative roles in Mission: Impossible IV
Films: Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004), The Mistress of Spices (2006), Lust, Caution (2007), Breakaway (2011)
Veteran actor Anupam Kher
has been everywhere,
and done all that
. Although, a bigger portion of his international fame comes from his contribution in hot Brit sellers Bend It Like Beckham
and Bride and Prejudice -
the expanse of his fame runs far and wide. From featuring in popular TV series ER
, to making a surprise appearance in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution,
which was opened at Cannes Film Festival in 2007, to his soon to release Breakaway,
which co-stars action man Akshay Kumar
, Anupam Kher
has been appreciated and in demand globally.
Actor: Shahrukh Khan
Film: Xtreme City (2012)
Shahrukh Khan is probably the most popular name in this list - but only barely just makes it, given that his first ever international project (which comes rather late in the day for an extreme star like him) is still under works. But the long wait seems to have paid off, because starring in Xtreme City alongside him is Hollywood's famous face Leonardo DiCaprio and that is definitely the kind of international break King Khan would look into! The Paul Schrader directorial, claiming to concentrate on Mumbai's gritty underworld, is tentatively scheduled to release sometime during 2012.
Films: The Myth (2005), Unveiled (2005), Hisss (2010), Politics of Love (2011)
Bollywood may have been home turf for this scandal queen who's forever riding high over the controversy of her bold ways, but the outside world has sure treated her talent with more respect! With movies like The Myth opposite martial arts master Jackie Chan to her credit, she has certainly held attention on a worldwide front. Another project, Unveiled, was a more solemn theme telling the story of a Muslim woman with two husbands and a lover. Then there has been the most recent 2010 release, Hisss. Releasing this year will be her Politics of Love, in which she co-stars with Oscar winning actor Brian J. White. Set out as a romantic comedy, the story will have a twist of inspiration from the publicly documented election love stories that came up during President Obama's Presidential push. Admittedly, she has not had the best of blockbuster success yet, but her acting has found appreciation and market outside, where many of her more popular peers from Bollywood have not found a foothold.
Film: Singularity (2011)
Having each cut out their niche on the national front with Bips having been around the scene much longer than Deol, these two have moved on to bag their first, and common, international project which is a directorial by Academy Award winner Ronald Joffe. Titled Singularity
, this movie is slated to release in the latter half of 2011. Apparently, Bipasha Basu
did not just jump at the first foreign project that came her way. It is heard that she was extremely cautious in ensuring both quality of script, and the prominence of her role in the movie - which as it stands is that of the female protagonist. Abhay, being Abhay, naturally paid extra attention to the narrative and theme. Although not a couple we have seen together on the Bllywood screen yet, we hope these two will together give us more reason to be proud!
Films: Monsoon Wedding (2001), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), The Great New Wonderful (2005), Valley of Flowers (2006),Khuda Kay Liye (2007)
has a phenomenal screen presence - Indian cinema, or outside. His list of foreign projects boasts of diversity, in addition to great success. But his most famous role we say, has to be Captain Nemo in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
(a comic book adaptation). The more recently released Pakistani movie Khuda Kay Liya
is one of Shah's most critically acclaimed works.
Actor: Akshay Kumar
finds our very own Khiladi Kumar donning two new 'firsts'. Not only is it his first international acting venture, the movie also sees him as a co-producer for the first time ever! The power packed performer stars in a cameo in the movie alongside Anupam Kher
, as mentioned earlier. The film is about an Indo-Canadian youth, who struggles between his family's aspirations, and his own dream of making it big in the sport of Ice Hockey. Well known names such as stand-up comedian Russell Peters, Rob Lowe, and Camilla Belle will also been seen starring in the film. Breakaway
is already in the list of select few movies which shall be showcased at the Toronto Film Festival in September this year. News also has it, that there will be an Indian version of this film which will be called Speedy Singhs
, and will be released around the same time as the original.
Films: Octopussy (1983), The Lost Empire (2001)
TV Series: Murder She Wrote, Magnum P.I., Hunter, Knight Rider, Highlander: The Series,The Bold and the Beautiful
Although his career kicked off in national cinema - Kabir Bedi
has made it much larger in terms of quality and quantity appearances made on international TV series. Having ventured into these foreign soaps/series/sitcoms in late seventies, Kabir has played minor side roles, and chunky central roles. The most popular of his projects has been the long running America series, The Bold and the Beautiful,
where Bedi was seen portraying a villainous character, Prince Omar Rashid of Morocco, for a year. His highest grossing movie project internationally, has to be the Bond movie Octopussy
. Not known to many, one of his highest international laurels include the fact that he has remained, for many years now, an active voting member on the panel for the Oscars.
We hope that made an insightful read. On that note, looking forward to reviews about your personal favorites from this unconventional list of Bollywood's Most Desirable!
Editor: Jenifer, Naseem & Gunia
Graphics: Fatima & Gurprit